The cost of visiting Melbourne

Before we left the UK we did lots of research into the cost of travelling in the countries we were planning to visit. It wasn’t big news to us that Australia was going to be our most expensive destination. The aim of this post is to give you some real time information on the cost of visiting Melbourne to help you plan your travel budget.

I should start by giving you some background information on Jake and I. We saved for a year before quitting our jobs and selling our possessions. We are budget travellers in that we have a limited amount of funds and running out of money would mean going home early! Because of this we try not to overspend and are always looking for good value for money.

Good value accommodation in Melbourne

The cost of accommodation in Melbourne is high. I always use Trip Advisor and other comparison sites to find the best deals for accommodation while also considering hostels and Airbnb. After all my research we decided Airbnb would offer us best value for money. Because there are two of us hostels in Oz don’t offer good value for money. In most cases two beds in a shared dorm costs only slightly less than a private room with Airbnb. When you consider the much shorter queue for the bathroom and being able to use the fridge without worrying your food will be pinched Airbnb wins.

We’ve used Airbnb three times in Melbourne. The first was bad. We made the mistake of picking the cheapest shared room in North Melbourne and we got what we paid for, a cramped shared room, a very dirty bathroom and a house full of guests. There were 12 people in a  four bedroom house… I wouldn’t recommend picking the cheapest room you can find. We went slightly more up market with our next two bookings and it was much better. If you’re a solo traveller I can understand the appeal of hostels and the cost saving you will make. I can also appreciate why Airbnb can be intimating if you’re travelling alone although we’ve always felt safe.

Example costs of accommodation in central Melbourne (January 2015)

  • Five star hotel, private room and bathroom, central Melbourne, $200+
  • Three star hotel, private room and bathroom, central Melbourne, $100
  • Mid-range hostel, Private room and shared bathroom, central Melbourne, $90
  • Mid-range hostel, one bed in shared dorm and shared bathroom, central Melbourne $40 ($80 for both of us)
  • Private room with Airbnb $85
  • Whole apartment with Airbnb +$180

 The cost of visiting Melbourne - airbnb

 The cost of visiting Melbourne - airbnb

The cost of public transport in and around Melbourne

Where possible Jake and I walk but sometimes we need to take public transport. In Victoria you need a Myki card to use public transport, you can get one from most 7/11 stores and they cost $4. There is a free tram that operates around the city centre and you don’t need a Myki card to board.

Example costs of transport in Melbourne and surrounding Victoria

  • One way “Skybus” transfer from Melbourne airport to Southern Cross Station, 40 mins, $18
  • “Skybus” transfer to anywhere in central Melbourne, FREE
  • Taxi from Southern Cross to North Melbourne, 10 mins, $10
  • City circle tram, FREE (you can find a map of the route this tram takes here)
  • Train from Southern Cross Station to Ballarat, 1hr 30mins, $13
  • Bus from Phillip Island to Southern Cross Station, 2hr 30mins, $12.40
  • Train from Southern Cross Station to St Kilda, $3.50


The cost of visiting Melbourne - tram


The cost of eating out in Melbourne

I can’t believe how many restaurants and cafes there are in Melbourne and how busy they always are. Coming from the UK, where the recession has had an impact on luxuries like eating out, I’m always surprised when I see a row of restaurants filled with customers. Unfortunately because of our budget we’ve been eating in but here are some example costs of things we have had.

Example costs of dining out in Melbourne

  • Coffee and panini at North Melbourne cafe, $12
  • “Pieface” pie, mash and gravy tower, $8.99
  • Flat white coffee from Victoria market $4 (this is standard for a medium coffee across the city)
  • Gourmet Burger and fries from Babo Burger, $18
  • Egg and bacon muffin in Southern cross station, $2
  • Small Pizza from Holy Grail on Chapel Street $5.50 (All day, everyday special!)
  • Bottle of Corona during happy hour $5
  • Half pint of Carlton $4.50
  • Small glass of wine $7

 The cost of visiting Melbourne - Sol

 The cost of visiting Melbourne - price

 The cost of visiting Melbourne - Holygrail pizza

The cost of groceries in Melbourne

In a bid to save money we have mostly been eating in during our stay in Melbourne. Staying with an Airbnb host means we have access to a kitchen to cook our meals and store our food. Here is the cost of some staple groceries. We always buy the cheapest version of things so this is the minimum price you’ll pay. We shop in Coles and find it’s good value for money.

Example costs for groceries in Melbourne

  • Special K, 360g, $2.99
  • 750g of porridge, $1
  • 375g of honey is a squeezy bottle, $4
  • 2 litres of whole milk, $2.00
  • Box of cereal bars, $6
  • Full size wholemeal loaf, $2.30
  • 500g of pasta, $1
  • Small tin of Tuna, 80c
  • Large tin of chopped tomatoes, $1.60
  • Whole chicken (2.23kg), $12.97
  • 4 Chicken breasts, $11.90
  • 500g beef mince, $6
  • Yellow tail white wine $8.99
  • 6 pack of Sol beer, $13.99

 The cost of visiting Melbourne - Milk

 The cost of visiting Melbourne - bread

The cost of tourist attractions in Melbourne

Melbourne is a modern city with the beach on its door step so there’s a variety of things to do. We are always on the go so keeping busy while not spending too much money is a challenge we often face. Luckily Melbourne offers plenty of free attractions. Actually there are so many I’m planning to do a separate post on free things to do in Melbourne.

Example costs for tourist attractions


The cost of visiting Melbourne - Shrine


When we arrived in Melbourne we braced ourselves for the high prices but so far we have found the prices very similar to the UK. I’m interested to see if costs vary significantly between states… Next stop is Sydney so I’ll let you know!

Until next time,


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  • So want to visit Australia. It looks like you are having a blast. Kudos for you for taking a break and traveling. I think some of us have a wanderlust bug, and the only medicine is a plane or bus ticket to somewhere new!

  • Amy January 6, 2015   Reply →

    We absolutely loved Melbourne! Like you Guys, we kept our costs down by staying in an AirB&B place and cooking our own food; we also took advantage of the cheap public transport and free attractions. Have fun in Oz 🙂

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